It’s been quite a while since I posted any recipes on this old blog of mine. But since it’s Christmas time, I naturally felt it was time to share a salad recipe with you. No, really! For all of those feasts coming up with Turkey and Ham and potatoes, I always like something fresh and cool to counterbalance the heaviness. But this salad can stand alone as well. We eat it all the time, with a
little chicken or steak, as a main course. You could call it a Caesar, since it is closely related ingredient-wise, but it’s really a hybrid of two salads that I have tweaked into one. It’s based on The Pioneer Woman’s Caesar, and a recipe that a dear friend of my family’s used to make. I never saw that recipe in writing, but I remember it vividly for it’s key ingredient- Garlic. I just call it Garlic Salad.
The first time I ever had the original garlic salad was at said family friend’s house. This family was new to our church, and we were just at the beginning stages of getting to know one another. But after the first meal at their house, we were on our way to becoming good friends. That woman could cook! I myself was just beginning to develop an interest in cooking, and she was absolutely inspiring. I watched her make this salad that day, and though I don’t remember proportions, I remember the lettuce tossed with soft croutons which were slathered in a dressing comprised mostly of mayonnaise and an undisclosed number of heads of garlic. Not cloves folks- heads. She was so passionate about garlic that she regaled me all the afternoon with stories of her many pilgrimages to the Garlic festival in Gilroy California, where you could “smell the garlic for miles.”
We also started to get to know her children better that day. Her oldest son was a quiet fellow whom I knew from school, since together we made up the majority of the tenor section in the high school choir. (what can I say, – you do what you gotta do when you’re short on tenors) We weren’t exactly close before then, but we bonded that day- over garlic salad. I think most people there enjoyed the salad, but we two LOVED it. We returned again and again to that giant silver bowl, grinning sheepishly over our garlic gluttony, little knowing the price we would pay the next day.
I went to bed that night still tasting that salad, even after a vigorous tooth brushing. But it was nothing to the taste in my mouth when I woke up in the morning. I not only tasted it, but could smell it wafting out of every pore of my body. I rolled over in bed and my sister wrinkled up her nose.
“What in the world? Is that you?” she asked. “How much of that salad did you eat?”
I hurriedly jumped in the shower, scrubbing myself all over. I then applied plenty of perfumed lotion which got me out of the house without attracting anymore notice, but by the time I got to school, it was no use. I walked into my class and took a seat. Within seconds, the girl behind asked why it suddenly smelled like a Mexican restaurant in the room. I sank lower in my chair and put my coat back on, hoping it might mask the odor.
I made it through a few more periods, avoiding people as best I could, until it was time for choir. I entered the choir room and saw my fellow garlic-indulging friend sitting in the tenor section. I went to sit next to him, but smelled him before I got to my chair. I looked at him and he looked at me. Then, without a word, we scooted our chairs forward as far as we could to spare the bass section, and he silently handed me a box of Altoids.
Now have no fear. The recipe I’m about to share is nowhere near as garlicky as the aforementioned one. But it still has plenty of kick without leaving you with a garlic hangover the next day.
Here’s what you need-
That’s two romaine hearts if you’re wondering. Also, use good quality mayonnaise and a nice baguette. It makes a difference.
First, make your croutons. I usually cut enough to cover the bottom of a medium sized pan. And I use my kitchen shears to do it. It’s easier.
Put them in your pan over medium heat, and drizzle them generously with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt.
Then just let them toast, shaking the pan occasionally until they are a nice golden brown, but still slightly soft.
While they are toasting, start your dressing.
In a bowl, place
1/2 cup of mayonnaise and
The juice of one lemon
In my long quest for finding the easiest way to chop garlic, I have used any number of devices. One of these days I am going to admit to myself that it’s just easier to get out the cutting board and mince it, but these days, I’m using this doohickey. It works pretty well.
I like to use at least four good size cloves in this salad, usually more. But obviously, this is up to you. Less is fine, although then, you probably couldn’t call it a garlic salad anymore. Just chop it up.
And add it to your dressing, along with a dash of worcestershire. (About 1 tsp.)
Now stir it all up with some salt and pepper.
It’s time to put it all together!
Roughly tear your romaine and drizzle it generously with the dressing.
This is actually enough dressing for two of these salads. I like to double it and keep the second half for another day.
Oh, and don’t forget the freshly grated parmesan and the croutons, which should be nicely golden by now.
So there you have it. If you’re in the market for something garlicky, this is the one for you. And don’t forget the Altoids!